You know that I really like somewhere when I go and visit twice in one year. It’s happened with eccentric Berlin, colourful Barcelona and now I’m rather fond of the reinvented city of Rotterdam. You feel as if you’re in a cross between a sci-fi film and life-size art gallery at times, with all the angular skyscrapers and modernist influences. I know I’m no architecture expert, but it’s a growing interest of mine ever since I started documenting my travels properly and connecting all the various influences around the world.
So what was the reason for this double dose of Dutch-ness? I was kindly invited back by the Rotterdam tourist board for the new Peter Lindbergh exhibition and I took this opportunity to share some of my favourite spots with Hannah. I say this like I’m a local, in reality my Dutch is still pretty non-existent and I still can’t tell my Euro coins apart. Luckily my bearings were still intact and I led us on a bit of a walking tour, starting with the bold Luchtsingel bridge and ending with hot waffles at the Markthal. Read on for more of what we got up to!
So we had a bit of a whirlwind visit around the Pannekoekstraat once we’d landed and it’s a bit of a hipster hotspot, albeit with a random old man pub plonked in the middle (complete with paddling pool). A healthy lunch was served at Sajoer, a ‘slow juice’ bar with a tasty array of veggie and vegan friendly dishes (the server we had was also the most enthusiastic person you will ever meet in your life). I had my first courgetti experience and although I did find the appearance deceptive, I definitely wouldn’t mind having it as a side-dish alongside some carby goodness in the future.
We also popped into a few key boutiques, which was ideal as I had to bypass this area on my last visit. Louen had a perfectly merchandised mix of Scandi, French and Dutch labels (the ‘Girl Gang’ Eleven Paris sweatshirt above might just inspire a DIY) and Pantoufle is home to far more interesting versions of typical household items. Think aprons that you’d want to actually wear out, minimal Japanese brooms and a beechwood drying rack that puts my Tesco version to shame. Just make sure you check the opening hours before you visit, as a lot of places seem to be closed on Mondays.
Peter Lindbergh ‘A Different Vision on Fashion Photography’
If you were wondering why there was a sudden influx of supermodels on my Instagram Story last Saturday, then this might explain things a little. We were able to attend the world premiere of the Peter Lindbergh exhibition, complete with supermodel selfies and an introduction by the curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot. Lindbergh is one of those photographers whose work you’ve most likely seen but not really known the full story behind. It includes the iconic 1989 British Vogue cover featuring Naomi, Christy, Linda, Tatjana and Cindy, which launched the era where models had personalities of their own and exuded confidence.
It seems like the right time for a retrospective at the Rotterdam Kunsthal showcasing over 200 of his images (they had to go through over half a million photos in his archive), especially since we’re now so focused on the instant and digital. I guess I’m more familiar with models having to boast a decent social media following as well as long limbs. Lindbergh’s aesthetic was about personality rather than perfection and the exhibition is my favourite sort, with plenty of notes, interviews and personal letters dotted around, so you can fully understand his process. It’s worth dedicating a decent chunk of time if you want to explore it fully, plus the building is also an interesting example of modern architecture.
The exhibition runs until February 12th 2017
Fancy visiting Rotterdam for the exhibition? Make sure you check out my mini-guide if you need any more suggestions and let me know what you get up to!